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Boston Marriage (play)

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Title: Boston Marriage (play)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Alicia Silverstone, Martha Plimpton, 1999 in literature, Comedy of manners, Felicity Huffman, Donmar Warehouse, Boston marriage, Anna Chancellor, Westfield State University, Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Boston Marriage (play)

Boston Marriage
Written by David Mamet
Date premiered June 16, 1999 (1999-06-16)
Place premiered American Repertory Theater
Original language English
Genre Comedy

Boston Marriage is a 1999 play by American playwright David Mamet. The play concerns two women at the turn of the 20th century who are in a Boston marriage, a relationship between two females that may involve both physical and emotional intimacy. After widespread belief that Mamet could only write for men, the playwright released this play, which centers exclusively on women.


The two leads, Anna and Claire, argue over Claire's new found "Love" while Anna's Scottish maid, Catherine, is brought to tears by her employer's harsh verbal rebukes. Things get tense as Anna, a mistress to a wealthy gentleman, tries to talk Claire out of her profession of love for another: a young woman. Claire, on the other hand, has already made plans with her young love to meet at Anna's house in the hopes that she will be able to persuade her new love to engage in a "vile assignation." Things go awry, however, when the girl arrives and recognizes that an emerald necklace that Anna is wearing belongs to her mother.

The plot line focuses on whether Anna and Claire will be able to find a way to hold on to both the girl and her wealthy but unfaithful father. The play is delivered through quick, witty Victorian-era dialogue, mixed with double entendres and vernacular expressions, to explore the relationship between the two women and their maid. Through humor and nuance, the play explores the negotiation, conflict, compromise and reconciliation that arise in their relationship.

Production history

Boston Marriage was originally produced by the American Repertory Theater (Robert Brustein, Artistic Director; Robert J. Orchard, Managing Director) at the Hasty Pudding Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 4, 1999. It was directed by David Mamet; the set design was by Sharon Kaitz and J. Michael Griggs; the lighting design was by John Ambrosone; and the costume design was by Harriet Voyt. The cast included Rebecca Pidgeon (Claire), Felicity Huffman (Anna), and Mary McCann (Catherine).[1]

It was performed in London at the Donmar Warehouse from March 2001 until April 2001. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, it featured Zoë Wanamaker (Anna), Anna Chancellor (Claire), and Lyndsey Marshal. It moved to the West End at the New Ambassadors Theatre, where it ran from November 28, 2001 until February 16, 2002.[2]

Boston Marriage was first performed in Melbourne in 2007 produced by leading independent theatre company Hoy Polloy. It was directed by Hoy Polloy Artistic Director Wayne Pearn and featured Helen Hopkins, Corinne Davies and Eleanor Wilson.[3] Boston Marriage ran off-Broadway in New York at The Public Theater from November 5, 2002 through December 22, 2002. It was directed by Karen Kohlhaas and starred Kate Burton as Anna, Martha Plimpton as Claire, and Aredn Myrin.[4]

The play was performed in Lima, Peru in early 2007 under the direction of theater director and actor Alberto Isola.[5]

The play was performed in Melbourne, Australia by the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) through June 2010. Pamela Rabe, Margaret Mills and Sara Gleeson star, directed by Aidan Fennessy. It returned to the Boston area in September 2010, as presented at the New Repertory Theater.

As part of the Dublin Theatre Festival 2010, the Gate Theatre, Dublin, Ireland is staging a production of Boston Marriage as part of its "BMP" programme; celebrating the links between Beckett, Pinter and Mamet.


External links

  • Curtain Up review, London, March 17, 2001
  • Lortel listing
  • review, November 21, 2002
  • review


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